Quick Start Tennis Is Official at Crozet Park

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Micaela Barclay of Crozet was instructed by WAHS tennis coach Ellen Markowitz in skeleton tennis, a game in which tennis students give up the use of a body part every time they miss the ball. Eventually they have to shut their eyes.

QuickStart Tennis originally planned to hold a grand opening at Crozet park on the day of the Crozet parade, but the derecho scotched that. It rained on August 25, when the occasion had been rescheduled, and the ribbon-cutting, including a portable QuickStart court, was moved under the park pavilion the storm left standing.

Special Olympian Gold Medalist and western Albemarle resident Jonathan Fried, who has played tennis for over 40 years, did the honors. He was joined by his mother Barbara, brother Adam and nephew Michael and friends Connie Gregory and David Luedeka. Also in attendance were Kelly Strickland, Claudius Crozet Park Board Member; Jessica Maslaney, YMCA Site Director; Lynda Harrill, QCV Vice President, QuickStart Tennis Coordinator and Founder; Chris Cubbage, Matilda Blue Tennis; Roy Harrill, QCV Treasurer; and Ann Mallek, Supervisor for the White Hall District, Albemarle County Board of Supervisors.

Quickstart programming had gotten underway earlier in August with two camps for kids ages 5 to 10 offered by Ellen Markowitz, the girls’ tennis coach at Western Albemarle High School, who also holds a Ph.D. in sports psychology.

The QuickStart ribbon cutting ceremony August 25.

“Kids come in knowing nothing and on the last day they learn to serve and they start keeping score. We do things that build success,” said Markowitz. Students start off with smaller rackets and larger balls on a smaller court, and as their skills progress they transition toward regulation rackets, balls and court size. About 35 kids participated.

“Control is what tennis is all about,” said Markowitz, whose WAHS team made it to the final four in the state championship last spring. “A small court shows you what skills you want to work on. There’s a famous quote: ‘failure is feedback.’”

She called the camp an example of sports-based youth development and the camp’s theme words are: Show Up, Take Part, Attitude, Respect, Teamwork, Effort, Responsibility and Sportsmanship.

“You have to be explicit about the values you are trying to teach. They don’t get learned just because you are playing a sport,” she said.

QuickStart is designed to encourage parents to learn tennis and play with their children. For more information, contact the YMCA at Crozet PARC at 434-205-4380 or visit www.quickstartcentral.org